If you read the last update about the Ram's minor dress-up features that don't do as well in the context of hard work, this update is almost 180 degrees to the other size. In this case, we are singing the praises of the truck's toughness -- and its value.

First, the toughness. The Ram was recently rear-ended. The van ahead of me was stopped in our lane, and the guy who hit me was looking at the next lane over to find a hole in traffic where he could get around the stopped van. After he and I drove to a nearby parking lot to exchange information, I looked at the damage to his car. The hood was pushed back and up, as if it were one section of an accordion. I could smell the leaking coolant. The front bumper was toast. It looked like his car was totaled. Then I walked to the back of the Ram, fearing what I would see there. Hmm. It didn't look like anything had really happened. Upon closer inspection, I could see some slight damage to the bumper and possibly the exhaust tips, but it was so subtle that if you weren't looking for it, you wouldn't be able to see it. I wasn't injured, either. The truck impressed yet again.

Two days later, I took in in for its second service -- when the computer-generated "change oil soon" light came on. After choosing not to get the wheel alignment the dealer offered nor the diff service that is part of the 24,000-mile service, the whole process took barely more than an hour and cost only $59.38. That included the oil change and filter, checking the tire pressures and setting them to spec, and tire rotation and inspection. The dealer was affordable, efficient, and friendly. What more could you ask for?


2013 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4
Service life: 8 mo/17,450 mi
Avg CO2: 1.25 lb/mi
Energy cons: 217 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems: None
Maintenance cost: $61.56 (oil change, tire rotation, inspection)
Normal-wear cost: $0
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ: 15/21/17 mpg
Average Fuel Econ: 15.5 mpg